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Old 10-14-2011, 04:06 AM
 
454 posts, read 789,934 times
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I was born and raised in Chicago, but currently living in Southern CA. I'm thinking of moving back to McHenry County either to work or retire. Its been 25 yrs since I've been in a Chi Town winter.

The only thing I remember of Chicago winters is my car always needing a jump, not dressing warm cuz I was a 25 yr old idiot and all my jobs being 15 min from home. Oh yea, I never worked outside. My current profession of 21 yrs would require me to work 80% outdoors.

I know winters vary from year to year. My plan is to visit Chicago to decide if I would want to live/retire thru winters at 55 yrs old or work out in the elements for the next 4 yrs. I'm currently 51 yrs old.

I'm thinking of visiting in early December to experience some cold & snow. If I can't deal with Dec than Jan would be out of the question! If I visit during Jan to experience snow and artic chills, it would be the worse of worse. What should I expect in the weather during the first 2 weeks of December or middle of Jan? Which months should I conduct this little experiment?
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Old 10-14-2011, 07:53 AM
 
Location: Chicago
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Jumping into a Chicago winter from Southern CA is going to be tough. The thing that helps us cope is we experience the gradual chill. We don't always have snow in early December, it could be mild, it could be pretty cold. It's going to REALLY feel cold to you since you aren't acclimating over a whole season.
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Old 10-14-2011, 10:11 AM
 
Location: The Hall of Justice
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We moved here from Southern California three years ago. The first winter, I got pneumonia.

I believe early December is mostly temps below freezing at night, with daytime temps in the 30s. Maybe some light to moderate snow, or maybe hardly any. One year (last year?) I don't think we got any substantial snow until almost Christmas. The first winter we were here (2008) was unusually cold, but the two after it weren't that bad as I recall. The wind is the worst part, and some places are windier than others.

If you bundle up, it's not bad, really. The cold is sometimes shocking because you're not used to it, but you do get used to it. I'm sitting next to an open window with a chilly little breeze blowing.
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Old 10-14-2011, 10:18 AM
 
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Its not that cold in December but its all relative. It really only gets very cold maybe around Xmas and then after. You can have days in the forties or even more in the first parts of December. The really deep freeze cold is in Jan and February. After that it gets better but cold weather still drags out until late April. Many of us like the brisk weather. I myself don't mind it but don't really like the really cold stuff.
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Old 10-14-2011, 10:26 AM
 
Location: North Jackson
1,867 posts, read 2,983,877 times
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To the OP, please don't believe people who tell you that December never gets cold. My experience in Chicago is that WHEN it will be single digits/below zero is completely unpredictable. But it WILL get to single digits/below zero for a few weeks every winter. The problem is that if you visit for only a week or two, you might very well miss the effects of an "Alberta Clipper," and leave saying to yourself "that wasn't so bad."

So if you have some flexibility, you really need to watch the Chicago weather reports, as they usually have about a weeks advance notice of when these arctic blasts will roll through. You want to live through a week of that, before you make your decision.

By the way, everything I said about the cold can be repeated for snow as well. Some winters almost all the snow occurs in December. Other years it's spread out. Other years January is a beast. Completely unpredictable.
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Old 10-14-2011, 11:00 AM
 
28,393 posts, read 68,104,404 times
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I agree with some of the above points above variability -- sometimes we have postively awesome weather around the end of the year and other times it is a mess of ice / snow and super low wind chills.

Predicting these things with more than a 50/50 chance rarely happens more than about 5-10 days ahead of time. Generally with advances in Doppler radar and high resolution IR satellites the good forecasts do have accurate precripitation events mapped out at least 48 hours ahead of time BUT they still are not useful for planning a trip unless you don't mind risking last minute changes...

That said, as somebody who is up there in age, every page off the calendar means the literal pain I feel in my hands gets worse in winter. I have talked to physicians about this and other folks my age and they all agree that age related temperature sensitivity is real and there is not much to do about it other than try to avoid being out in the cold too long / wearing warmer gloves.

If you have an occupation that requires being outdoors there is no way I would recommend Illinois or any other snow belt area to someone over 50...
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Old 10-16-2011, 08:33 AM
 
Location: Chicago, IL SouthWest Suburbs
3,528 posts, read 4,991,326 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chgodon View Post
I was born and raised in Chicago, but currently living in Southern CA. I'm thinking of moving back to McHenry County either to work or retire. Its been 25 yrs since I've been in a Chi Town winter.

The only thing I remember of Chicago winters is my car always needing a jump, not dressing warm cuz I was a 25 yr old idiot and all my jobs being 15 min from home. Oh yea, I never worked outside. My current profession of 21 yrs would require me to work 80% outdoors.

I know winters vary from year to year. My plan is to visit Chicago to decide if I would want to live/retire thru winters at 55 yrs old or work out in the elements for the next 4 yrs. I'm currently 51 yrs old.

I'm thinking of visiting in early December to experience some cold & snow. If I can't deal with Dec than Jan would be out of the question! If I visit during Jan to experience snow and artic chills, it would be the worse of worse. What should I expect in the weather during the first 2 weeks of December or middle of Jan? Which months should I conduct this little experiment?
That is such a tough question as weather changes so quickly.
The other factor is winters change from year to year.

I am sure everyone can recall very warm winters where there is virtually no arctic cold air mass and other winters where it seems every week you get a cold mind numbing blast.

Seems the mid twenties and low 30's are bearable but you get in the teens with wind and its really cold.

Most times if I am dressed for the weather especially with all the new fabrics on the market any type of weather is not too bad.

But the time between Christmas and the weeks after new years would be a good test.

The wild card being an arctic blast that is zeroof air masses.
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Old 10-16-2011, 07:58 PM
 
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The worst time is November when temperatures are dropping quickly. January is the coldest month but by then you are used to it. Also you are gaining about a minute of daylight each day.
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Old 10-17-2011, 04:32 PM
 
Location: M I N N E S O T A
14,805 posts, read 17,026,319 times
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Could someone please tell me what the snow in Chicago is like?

Like in MN after a few big storms the snow stays and never melts until spring.
Or is it like more in the Northeast where there's a big snow storm than after a week or so most of it melts?
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Old 10-17-2011, 06:08 PM
 
454 posts, read 789,934 times
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Thanks for the replies. Air fare a litte high in jan and feb. Looks like my visit will be second week in dec.
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